View Full Version : - Exploring Middle Earth - In The Dark - S.Vyas

Stephen Vyas
01 January 2003, 01:18 AM
Here's a roughed out script, it'll most likely change to accomidate the time issue once I finish the story boards ...

A little overly ambitious timewise.. Time to think up another :)

One concept of the cave/caverns..

01 January 2003, 04:01 PM
That's teasing didn't even get to see the first script.
Like the pic, very moody.

Stephen Vyas
01 January 2003, 05:26 AM
Here's another concept of the caves.. Still fiddling a bit with how I'm gonna stage this.

Stephen Vyas
01 January 2003, 12:07 PM
My script revolves around a hobbit. As the description of thread entitles, the hobbit will enter a dark corridor/cave with weapon drawn awaiting a surprise from the dark.
But here's the twist.
As most hobbits, this hobbit has read quite a bit and is influenced by the short stories that he tends to sit down with. Most of all ones based on futuristic human characters like Rambo and G.I. Joe..


Stephen Vyas
01 January 2003, 08:02 AM

Stephen Vyas
01 January 2003, 08:47 AM

Stephen Vyas
01 January 2003, 08:49 AM
I chose to use the second concept to stage this animation.

Stephen Vyas
01 January 2003, 04:32 AM
Here's my animatic..
Hardly worth the download :buttrock:
Animatic_Jan_01.mpeg <--Deleted

01 January 2003, 06:23 AM
I think it has a lot of personality just in the way he peeks out and tiptoes off. Your character is pretty cool too, nice touch with the different colored eyes.

Can't wait to see the next update!

01 January 2003, 08:15 AM
Hehe that's really cool!

My only suggestion would be to change the backwards somersalt into a forwards one.

I'm not sure if even an elf could flip backward while still going forwards!!!

01 January 2003, 04:13 PM
Originally posted by Jozvex
Hehe that's really cool!

My only suggestion would be to change the backwards somersalt into a forwards one.

I'm not sure if even an elf could flip backward while still going forwards!!!

That IS posibble. Look at some capoeiristas, breakdancers or gymnast. But you are right a forward salto would look more fluent in this case :bounce:

01 January 2003, 05:35 PM

I like the character. Is he a dwarf? How about a huge axe for him?
That would be a funny contradiction to his tip toeing.

01 January 2003, 10:57 PM
Originally posted by Milho
That IS posibble. Look at some capoeiristas...

Ahh yes you are right! I've seen some capoeiristas do that even! I don't know why I forgot about them.

Hehe imagine a hobbit doing capoeira!!

01 January 2003, 01:39 AM
How about having something really big tiptoe behind him, as if shadowing him. Your guy is being so careful, it might be funny to have the thing he's trying to avoid be right behind him the whole time.....

Stephen Vyas
02 February 2003, 08:56 AM
Good idea Alec, I'll play around with it and see what happens
Here's an update for the meantime....
Jan_Challenge (Divx 5.0.2 - 600k)<----Deleted

02 February 2003, 10:44 AM
Hey that's looking very cool Steve. Nice action!


Stephen Vyas
02 February 2003, 06:40 AM
Thanks Micheal.. It's been awhile since we've seen an update from you. How's things going?
Btw, I just checked out your site, and I was very impressed by the robot fight.
Well done:)


02 February 2003, 02:43 AM
Getting nice Stephen.
I also got a idea for the short. How about letting this guy posing around like described and at the end scared to death by something like a little spider or even the big shadow of it.

What do you think? :wavey:

02 February 2003, 05:10 AM
Cheers Steve, that page is still looking a bit bare atm, gotta get some more stuff up.

Yeah, things have been busy lately, hard to find the time to get something down, usual story. Gonna try and make some time this week to get things rolling.

Stephen Vyas
02 February 2003, 05:21 AM
Hey Milho..
Yeah it's a good idea, though, my optimal solution would be to try to resolving the scene with just this one character.The challenge is to find a dynamic way to end the scene that the viewer wouldn't expect. And it doesn't necessarily have to be funny, just well thought out..
That's what's been going through my head lately..
I've thought of him going back behind the wall, grabbing a boulder and carring it out over his head and prepare to defend himself.
Another would be to garnish a dagger and do a wildish leap of faith at a character off the screen.
Tho, what's really appealing to me right now is to rent a bunch of Rambo movies from blockbuster....:)
It'd also a lot more amusing than beating my pen on my desk, staring at a blank piece of paper....:surprised

Thanks for the idea though, if you have any others I"m all ears :)

02 February 2003, 08:30 AM
Since your first part looks so nice and inspiring I think we'll all get a bunch of ideas how this thing could end.
How about him unfolding a "Happy Birthday" - Banner?

02 February 2003, 01:37 PM
Hey that's coming out pretty nice! I get impressions of Bluto from Animal House, when they were sneaking into the stables to steal that guy's horse.

Maybe you don't need to add anything at the end, just have a particularly great "Sneak" section, maybe tiptoeing backward or something.

Stephen Vyas
02 February 2003, 08:23 AM
You'll have to tell me more of this bluto character, I've never heard of him...
Thanks for the comments tho, i've decided to go ahead with the dagger idea.
Updates soon, I promise ;)

Stephen Vyas
02 February 2003, 11:27 AM
Warning Suggestive Violence :buttrock:

02 February 2003, 01:03 PM
Hey Steve,

I'm not reading what's going on after he shoots his gun. He jumps and slides down as his gun goes floating off to somewhere...then he grabs something off screen and pulls it across. When he fires his gun, give it a bit more recoil and exaggerated effect on his *KA-BLOOIE!!!!!* Right now, his gun seems to go *pop*.

I'm not sure what he's sliding across either. Maybe it's the camera angle, but it doesn't seem like the rock angle is enough to allow a slide. It seems more as if he gets sucked out of the tunnel than forcibly launching himself down the rock slide.

If you're going to have his face that close to the camera, you might wanna think about rigging his moustache and eyebrows. Those guys should be flopping & bouncing all over the place.

When he reaches the foreground and his eyes dart from side to side, I don't get a sense of recognition of his upcoming task (pulling some beast across the screen). Really make him focus in on the beast and have his eyes locked on it as he begins across the screen. Give him a look of determination.

I like the pull of the beast across the screen. His eyes seem to be exhibiting a sense of exasperation rather than a mighty struggle. Make his eyes squint, brows furrow, and if he has a tongue, stick it out of the corner of his mouth.

It might be interesting, too, to have him struggle pulling to around half-way across the screen and then to get yanked really hard in the other direction....just a thought.

Keep up updating. Can't wait to see more!


Stephen Vyas
02 February 2003, 01:25 PM
Thanks Alec,

He uses a grapple hook type gun to launch himself across the cavern. The grapple-hook isn't finished, neither is the rope.. Sorry for the confusion... :)
I'll try to put more of a recoil in the gun shot...
I'll look into the rock angle, you're probably right, as well as the eye recognition part of it... Also need to make some eyelids, almost forgot about them :P
I agree, the anticipation of the jump needs work as well..
As for the eyebrows and mustache, well they're all rigged up, it's just a matter of getting everything else done before I move on to animating them :)

Stephen Vyas
02 February 2003, 05:13 PM
Small Update<---Deleted

Adjusted the recoil to the gun fire, the terrian, the eyes, and the anticipation to the jump/attack....

02 February 2003, 06:31 PM
Ack! Now that you said he's using a grappling gun & tether to get across it makes total sense! Man. I'm sure it says what's what in your prior posts. Guess I need to learn to read.....where is that Hooked on Phonics book?

Guh...guh....rapp....guhrapp.....uhll....guhrappuhll......Good boy! You're so smart....


That's what I get for critiquing at 4am.

See ya.


Stephen Vyas
02 February 2003, 04:09 AM
Divx Version---Deleted

Mpeg Version---Deleted
I don't think I did mentioned that it was a grapple hook.. hah!! Everyone's probably looking at this wondering, what the hell .. he just floated to the other side! This is soooo weird....

One thing I'm trying to make better atm, is the preparing for the gun shot and the reaction..
Maybe having him shy away just before he takes the gun shot by tilting his head and closing his eyes...
The position of the gun also doesn't seem to make sense according to the direction where he's firing...

What do you think? Any other comments/Crits?

02 February 2003, 09:01 AM
Great Ending,

the only thing I would suggest is to raise the dagger more theatrical for the deadly blow.


Stephen Vyas
02 February 2003, 03:35 PM
Did some shape animation, and some work on the grapple hook...
Edit: -Deleted-

Dimo: Next update I'll try it out :)


02 February 2003, 09:38 PM
Hey Steve. Looks great so far.

I think it still needs a little more recoil for the gun. Like the thing grappling hook weighs almost as much or more than the gun.

I'm also not sure what's happening at the ending. I scanned through the thread to see if you mention it, but I may have missed it. It appears to me that he runs into something after he leaps offscreen and is dazed and walks backwards. If that is what you're going for, it needs something else to help sell it, but I can't put my finger on it. Maybe if he had some more wobble to his movement. For example, when he comes back on screen and moving to the left, have him stop and wobble to the right, catch his balance only to over compensate and begin to fall to the left, trying to prevent himself from falling the whole way. Or you could just have him fall.

But if that's not what he's doing, then he needs some work, because I don't have a clue what going on. :D

Also, he might could use just a wee bit more air time at the end of the swing. I'm not too sure about that though. I'd have to just try and see what it looked like.

Looks great man. Keep up the work!

Stephen Vyas
02 February 2003, 03:38 AM
Thanks Rogue, I'm keeping a close eye on that recoil. Still isn't the way I want it to be. :wip:

Heh.. I'm sure it'll make more sense in the updates to come, there's still much to do....

02 February 2003, 11:12 AM
Hi Stephen,

It's looking good.

I agree with the points Rogue made.
I wondered if to make the ending read easier, if he staggered back into shot with an axe or some other weapon sticking in him.



Stephen Vyas
02 February 2003, 07:10 PM
Blowtorch: Yep that's a good idea, but I'm going to stick to my guns and follow my plan of having him attack, and then proceed to drag the other character back behind the wall...
It will start to make more sense in the next few updates.


02 February 2003, 05:59 AM
Firstly I think your anim is looking great!! Makes more sense now that the grappling rope is in there too :)

My only comment is with the ending too. I like what he is doing and don't think you need to change that. Its only that I find the cropping frustrating. I keep waiting for the camera to tilt down so I can see what's going on more clearly. Pretty simple though - just push the camera down and tilt up a bit so you keep similar framing but the staging is a bit more pleasing at the end.

Also it might be nice if we see the little monster in the beginning - like maybe when your character does his little dive roll the moster could be standing with his back to him and look over his shoulder like he thought he heard something. Then when he sees nothing and looks back towards us (and walks off screen maybe) the guy pops his head back out around the corner to shoot his grappling gun. Does that make sense. I know that's a bit more animation with the monster but it would be nice.

Its looking really great though!!


Stephen Vyas
02 February 2003, 09:33 AM
Hey Nate,
Very decisive critique. I like that and that's exactly what I'm going to do. Almost the same critique that Andrew Burke sent me...:) Though, I'm going to have a little fun with the monster in the begining. I'll will be giving the monster more time on the screen to help anticipate the attack. Currently, he's just a head. So at the moment, I'm making a body for him. :)

The camera move is a must, I see that now. So in the next update I'll try to get a more appealing cropping. :)


Stephen Vyas
02 February 2003, 11:59 AM
Here's a base model for the Orc....

02 February 2003, 12:19 PM
Hi Stephen,

Sorry about suggesting a change to the end. When I viewed the anim I was just presuming he was going to die. Stuck in death mode doing my troll I think. ;)

I realise what you have in store with the Orc now. Should look very nice.

BTW What is the LOTR font that you've used on the Orc Picture?



Stephen Vyas
02 February 2003, 01:08 PM
Hey no worries Jon... The font is called RingBearer, and you can download it from


02 February 2003, 10:17 AM
Awesome. The animation is looking really good. No crits just yet.
I agreed with what the others said and I see where you are going with it so I am interested to see what happens. :beer:

Stephen Vyas
02 February 2003, 06:07 PM
Orc time!
There's still a need for tweeking & blendshapes but all in all this is the direction I'm going with him.


02 February 2003, 06:53 PM
looking good.

A couple of things:

1;-) In regards to the body on the ground-- Since the ORc is eating a hand maybe you could have the hand on the body or even the fingers twitch or spasm like he just recently killed him and the lifeforce is slowly fading away.

2:-) I still think we should be able to see more of the Orc being carried off screen.

Very good job so far.

Stephen Vyas
02 February 2003, 02:53 PM
I like the spasm idea.. I'll throw it in soon.
I'm not sure if I"ll be able to move the camera. Right now it's hiding some really funky stuff that's happening to my Hobbit's left leg. I haven't figured out exactly why it's doing that, or how to fix it yet...
Anyways, till next update..:wavey:


02 February 2003, 06:51 AM
Hey Stephen,

Beautiful animation on the hobbit! :applause:

my main suggestion would be to think carefully about where you want your audience's attention to be during the scene. Right now, you have your two characters doing stuff at the same time, and it's a bit hard to know where to look.
Like: The stuff with the orc gnawing on a hand is hilarious, but I only noticed it after I read BishopLynx's comment - I kept getting distracted by the hobbit in the background and never could concentrate on the orc enough to realize what he is doing. And the orc moving around in the foreground keeps pulling me away from the hobbit's excellent rolls and sneaks :)

My suggestion would be to stagger the action more - keep the orc's motion fairly minimal while the hobbit is moving in the background, and save his acting (like when he sniffs the air) for the pauses when the hobbit is out of sight.

Stephen Vyas
02 February 2003, 03:13 PM
Hey Marion,
I'll stagger the focus in the next update. I agree it sometimes gets distracting... I don't have a method yet on working with two characters on the screen...
How does everyone else work when you're animating two characters? How do you choreograph them responding to each other? Do you have separate scene files for each character and use a dummy fill-in for the rest of the cast? Then merge the scene files at the
end? Or do you animate them in the same scene and go back and forth between action and reaction? Or is there another approach?

Any further comments are very welcome.:D


02 February 2003, 07:28 PM
Whenever I deal with multiple characters on screen at once, I usually defer to some techniques my old acting coach used to give us for performing on stage.
Basically, anything that isn't intended as the main focus is "business". Whenever we were told to perform "business" in the background, we had to act out whatever the scene called for, but in slower, more subtle movements so that the scene surrounding the main performer, or focus, wasn't dead but also didn't upstage or overshadow the primary focus.

Also, since your characters are essentially actors, the key is once they start interacting that their actions are in reaction to the other. You're doing a good job of that.

As far as workflow goes, for me, the best way to get them to properly act & react to one another is to animate them in tandem, but not so much in a literal sense. More likely I'd animate a second or two of action that probably overlaps the reaction of the other character, then start animating the other so that I know exactly which keys to start the, this is starting to ramble, so I'll get out now.

That's it.


Stephen Vyas
02 February 2003, 01:46 AM
Hey guys,
I'll be taking the next few weeks off, and heading outa town. So here's my latest renders. Hopefully, I'll be back before the contest is over to throw another update up, but if not, thanks for all the help guys.. It's been very motivating!

Soresen Version (zipped) 6.4megs (
Divx Version 1.5megs (

02 February 2003, 02:27 AM
can i get a link to one of these animations you've posted?? i really like your character and would like to see him in movement. :) thanks

02 February 2003, 02:37 AM
stephen...the link to the MPEG version isn't working. i'm on an old mac and can't download a new enough version of DivX to view that one (that link works i just can't see it on this MAC).

ps. why does everyone use DivX anyways?! :annoyed:

Stephen Vyas
02 February 2003, 03:23 AM
VWTornado: The Sorensen version should work with all platforms. The link seems to be working fine on my side. The reason for divx is it has a great compression rate with high quality video and sound. If you have problems viewing the sorensen video, let me know, and I'll post a mpeg version.

Soresen Version (zipped) 6.4megs (

Divx Version 1.5megs (


02 February 2003, 05:04 AM
Looks great Steve. Sorry I haven't been very active in the forums latetly...its that life thing.

The only thing is the green orc guy thing. I think he could have some anticipation or something before he snaps and looks towards the guy. It seems to be missing something right there. I don't think it would take much....

Also, when he's sniffing the air, I think if for his last two sniffs, he could point his head to screen left and kind of sniff over in that direction a time or two. Just a little thing.

Excellent work as usual!

02 February 2003, 04:49 PM
i've been following this and i like how it has progressed - I do have a suggestion for the green orc's movement though... I think whenever our 'hero' first swings over the orc's reaction should be somewhat aggressive but cautious - like ''i see him but he doesn't see me'' - not neccessarily assuming a pounce position but maybe just getting lower to the ground really quick or something, but i do like how he takes a swipe at him ---- and maybe the characters are aware of each other the whole time? i'm not sure if thats the case, but if it's not then i would like to see the orc being more cautious

02 February 2003, 03:12 PM
This is looking great!

Just one little continuity question, what happens to his knife? Did he stab the little dude? We don't see it again in his right hand as he's dragging the orky guy.

Stephen Vyas
02 February 2003, 01:50 AM
Hey guys...
Just got back into town.. Looks like most are making good progress. Should be quite a fight at the finish :)

Rogue: At this time it looks like I'm callin this animation short finished. It's nice to see ya back at the forums tho :)

edaddy: Good suggestions, however, to make the characters aware of each other during the sketch would mean going and change the behavior of each throughout the entire shot. Ultimately starting from scratch to get the feeling I'd want for it.. At this stage it's not likely I'll follow you on this considering our time left.

Pixelkeg: That's easy, if the knife isn't in his hand, it must be somewhere else :P

Later :)

Final (Soresen zipped) 6.4megs (

Final (Divx 1.5megs) (

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